earth1-300x214 EARTHQUAKE!!If you are reading this, chances are that you felt the ground rumbling from the largest earthquake that ever rocked the Mid Atlantic region and you are wondering if your house or building could have been damaged.  Earthquakes move buildings in a vertical and horizontal motion, which can exert higher loads (and in a different direction) on the structure than those for which it was originally designed.  Typically short (3-4 stories tall or less) buildings are less prone to damage as the whipping motion of the structure is more intense as the building is taller.  Wood framed structures tend to be flexible and able to handle the loads in a more forgiving manner, so they too are less prone to damage.  Buildings utilizing load bearing masonry and reinforced concrete tend to be less flexible and can display cracks at corners of windows, doors, or along structural connections.  We recommend that you walk around the inside and outside of your buildings and look for cracks that were not there yesterday.  If you see any new or disturbing cracks have a professional engineer check them out.  Some cracks may not become evident until the next rain (or in the case of this weekend, hurricane Irene).  We may release more information as the situation develops.